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Old 10-05-2014, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
6,503 posts, read 6,733,108 times
Reputation: 3730

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I have a dilemma. When I actually do have children I may have to relocate from Norfolk to Virginia Beach or Chesapeake in order to find a great school system, to hear Great Schools tell it. Great Schools is the source often quoted by real estate sites like Trulia or Zillow. It would appear as if the only desirable school districts in Norfolk, are in the more expensive neighborhoods I cannot afford, like Ghent, Larchmont, etc.

I love the urban atmosphere of Norfolk, but if I cannot afford to live in a district with good public schools, or send kids to private school, then it would behoove me to move elsewhere. I know, typical American first-world issues. But I often wonder if the truth about school systems in cities like Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, whatever is as black as white as the implication that the more urban areas in HR have poor school systems while the more suburban parts have the really good schools. I know that inner city school systems in America haven't been good since the fifties, but I would like to gather different points of view so I can make a more informed decision.

Last edited by goofy328; 10-05-2014 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
6,503 posts, read 6,733,108 times
Reputation: 3730
No takers? It will different tomorrow I imagine. Most everyone is probably at church this time of day.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads
3,032 posts, read 4,091,146 times
Reputation: 4408
I don't have children, so maybe what I have to say is incorrect or irrelevant.... but I really feel like the amount of parental involvement, starting at an early age, is a better indicative of how well your child will do in school than the actual school itself. I don't feel as though it is as black and white as the school reports state, but that in urban areas.... there might be less parental involvement causing lower score trends. I do not believe that the entire school districts of some cities only employ the worst of teachers while other cities have no problem teachers. I do believe that the missing piece to a lot of this is the amount of parental involvement available.

That being said, I can see the reason why parents want their children at the schools with the best scores in the area. You want to give your kid every educational advantage that you can.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:29 AM
 
976 posts, read 1,548,150 times
Reputation: 651
This is pretty much how it is in most places. The more "urban" the area, the lower the scores on GreatSchools, in general. However, GreatSchools really only ranks based on test scores. There is a lot more to the quality of a school than test scores. I currently live in northern VA, and one of the elementary schools in my neighborhood is (or at least was recently) rated a 2. Yes, 2 out of 10. Sounds awful, right? But I have multiple friends in the neighborhood whose children attend that school, and both kids and parents love it. It just happens to pull in from some lower-income areas with a lot of ESOL students who don't score well on the standardized exams.
Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy328 View Post
No takers? It will different tomorrow I imagine. Most everyone is probably at church this time of day.
This forum is quite slow. You really can't expect responses in less than an hour. I've seen this forum go a full 24 hours without a single post/response. Patience
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:13 AM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,333,949 times
Reputation: 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy328 View Post
I have a dilemma. When I actually do have children I may have to relocate from Norfolk to Virginia Beach or Chesapeake in order to find a great school system, to hear Great Schools tell it. Great Schools is the source often quoted by real estate sites like Trulia or Zillow. It would appear as if the only desirable school districts in Norfolk, are in the more expensive neighborhoods I cannot afford, like Ghent, Larchmont, etc.

I love the urban atmosphere of Norfolk, but if I cannot afford to live in a district with good public schools, or send kids to private school, then it would behoove me to move elsewhere. I know, typical American first-world issues. But I often wonder if the truth about school systems in cities like Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, whatever is as black as white as the implication that the more urban areas in HR have poor school systems while the more suburban parts have the really good schools. I know that inner city school systems in America haven't been good since the fifties, but I would like to gather different points of view so I can make a more informed decision.
It's really tough to say how your future kid would react to being in a "bad" school district. My understanding of greatschools is that they are based on test scores by state for the most part, and exclusively on test scores in VA.

The GreatSchools Rating | GreatSchools

So what it is really telling you is how the students at that particular school do on tests relative to students at other schools in the state. Given the realities of parental income, crime, demographics, etc... there is no way an urban Norfolk school in a low/moderate income area with lots of single parents and kids getting free lunches is going to see the broad level of success on tests that some district in NOVA where all the parents have stable marriages, masters degrees, and 6 figure salaries. I mean it could theoretically happen, but reality just doesn't seem to pan out that way.

At the same time I grew up in a single parent household and went to a pretty crappy intermediate and middle school in Chesapeake and turned out fine. We had our own little bubble in the honors classes and I played sports so people didn't really mess with me. I also didn't care much for being popular so I didn't get involved in a lot of the nonsense that went on. I was too busy playing my guitar or playing baseball, football, and basketball after school to get into much trouble.

So as a parent you are just playing the odds by going to a "better" district. Any school is going to have problems where your particular child could fall into the wrong crowd, but the better ones tend to have less problems and more opportunities to succeed. Expectations tend to also be higher at better school districts as most of the parents went to college and it is assumed their children will as well. There are no guarantees, but surrounding a child with success probably increases their chances of experiencing it themselves.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:05 AM
Status: "San Diego this weekend!" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Durham, NC
24,988 posts, read 35,675,472 times
Reputation: 35291
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean720 View Post
This is pretty much how it is in most places. The more "urban" the area, the lower the scores on GreatSchools, in general. However, GreatSchools really only ranks based on test scores. There is a lot more to the quality of a school than test scores. I currently live in northern VA, and one of the elementary schools in my neighborhood is (or at least was recently) rated a 2. Yes, 2 out of 10. Sounds awful, right? But I have multiple friends in the neighborhood whose children attend that school, and both kids and parents love it. It just happens to pull in from some lower-income areas with a lot of ESOL students who don't score well on the standardized exams.

This forum is quite slow. You really can't expect responses in less than an hour. I've seen this forum go a full 24 hours without a single post/response. Patience
Let me guess. Alexandria City Public Schools?

I went to Alexandria's public HS which was a 2 at that time and personally i liked it more than my old HS in Yorktown which was a 7. I think GreatSchools hardly gives you the whole story on a school system. I think parents reviews hold much more weight.

I have family who have gone through Newport News PS and have been completely satisfied with their education. If you kids are motivated they can get a solid education at most VA public schools with a little due diligence.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:12 PM
 
5,926 posts, read 8,837,131 times
Reputation: 6503
Portsmouth and Norfolk schools are bad. Even the "good ones" are worse off than the schools in VA Beach and most Chesapeake schools.
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
3 posts, read 2,840 times
Reputation: 11
I am a young mother and recently moved from Norfolk to Virginia Beach so we could settle in a good neighborhood with a good school system. The schools in Norfolk were not going to cut it. I moved to the Kempsville area as the schools are good here and we found the perfect house.

As an added bonus, we escaped the notorious floods of Norfolk.
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